Remote auscultatory patient monitoring during magnetic resonance imaging
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A system for patient monitoring during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is described. The system is based on remote auscultation of heart sounds and respiratory sounds using specially developed pickup heads that are positioned on the precordium or at the nostrils and connected to microphones via polymer tubing. The microphones operate in a differential mode outside the strong magnetic field to reduce various sources of interference from the MRI equipment. After amplification, the signal is transmitted as infrared light to a small, battery-operated receiver and a headphone set. Thus, the patient can be simultaneously auscultated both inside and outside the shielded MRI room by infrared transmission through a metal mesh window. Bench tests of the system show that common mode acoustic noise is suppressed by approximately 30 dB in the frequency region of interest (100–1,000 Hz), and that polymer tubing having a diameter of approximately 2 mm can be used for efficient sound transmission. Recordings in situ show satisfactory detection of both heart sounds and respiratory sounds, although the signal is somewhat masked by noise during imaging. A clinical test incorporating 17 sedated or anesthetized patients was also performed. In all but four cases, the quality of the breath and heart sounds was regarded as acceptable or better.
Key wordsMonitoring: heart, respirations Measurement techniques: magnetic resonance imaging; infrared telemetry
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